by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Star Wars: The Old Republic is the much anticipated new massively multi-player online role playing (MMORPG) game by developer BioWare. The game is being published by LucasArts and is expected to be released for the PC during the first half of 2010.
The Old Republic is a sequel to the hit single player adventure game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which was released to critical acclaim five years ago. Five years is a long time to go between games and greatly improved upon graphics and game play is to be expected. Set in the well-known Star Wars universe from the movies this game takes place about 3600 years before our friend Darth Vader set out to wreak havoc upon civilization. It advances the storyline three hundred years from where it ended in Knights of the Old Republic.
The game features the old tried and true RPG favorite activities of combat, exploration, and character progression. However, BioWare will attempt to introduce what they describe as a "fourth pillar-story line" for this new game. How they weave this story in to the action will play a significant role in the game and drive the motivations of all characters, including your own character.
The Old Republic will now allow you to choose a profession from what LucasArts describes as a variety of familiar Star Wars roles. At this time, four classes have been announced. These are the Trooper, Smuggler, Bounty Hunter and the Sith Warrior. We have at least four more unannounced ones to look forward to. Characters can pursue an education in the mysterious ways of the Force, either as a Jedi padawan learning the Light Side, or as a Sith apprentice, learning the ways of the Dark Side. The game also features companions that can join you in your quest and either fight alongside you, or betray you, depending on their motives or yours.
These new companions aren't your typical role-playing game AI controlled characters that we have all experienced in other games like this. They are much smarter and if you cross them or perform an action (such as switching sides) then they might turn on you. The opposite is true as well. If you perform up to their expectations then you will have a friend and ally for life. Unless you can manage to make them turn too! NPC characters aside. This is an online game and that means that most if not all of your gaming pleasure can be derived from interactions with real people. Different factions can be formed or joined and players can work toward a common goal.
Because The Old Republic takes place in the Knights of the Old Republic world, fans of the original game can expect to see characters, places, weapons and story elements they may be familiar with. Even if you have never played a Star Wars game everything will be the same as what is found in the numerous movies and publications from over the years, with the exception of Luke and Vader of course.
During Star War games of the past and of course during the movies, characters were always required to join either the Dark Side or the Light Side of the Force. This time around it is possible to join the Dark Side as a Sith and because you may have a heart of gold and a passion for good then you will be allowed to fight for the Jedi side. Of course this can work the other way around as well. Everything is determined by your actions through out the game.
Star Wars: The Old Republic was announced by LucasArts almost a year ago but has been in development for a considerable longer period. The game isn't available yet but sign-ups for the pre-release testing have already begun. A good indication of how much interest there is in the game was when the sign-ups were first announced: there were so many people trying to get in that it caused the game's servers to crash. While that may have been an annoyance to some, I bet that it was great news to LucasArts.